Dupre Family Reunion

Posted by on Jul 30, 2019 in Blog, Featured | 3 comments

Dupre Family Reunion

Farn and I just returned home from our Dupre Family Reunion near Bridgton, Maine at the Nawandyn Estate on Highland Lake. No one in our family lives up in Maine but it has a special meaning to the Dupres. As children, we drove there from the Midwest every summer to spend several weeks hiking, swimming in lakes, climbing Mt. Washington, and braving the freezing ocean.  

My family

We began holding Dupre Family reunions every other summer in neutral places more than 30 years ago.  That was my father’s idea. He felt that when we all gathered back at home, we all fell into old familiar roles. So, we began to meet in new locations, at inns, resorts, or large private homes. These past 30 years, we’ve held reunions in places such as Chappaquiddick (off the coast of Cape Cod), North Carolina, Colorado, California, Mexico, and Maine. We discovered that issues of power and control gave way to cooperation, and that we did not regress to either parent/child or older sibling/younger sibling interactions of the past.

We continue to find creative outlets and activities for our reunions. Some years we’ve brought copies of a play, divvied up parts, and staged riotous performances. Once we created a family timeline on butcher-block paper taped across an entire wall, jotting down significant events and memories for each person, year by year, to create a family tapestry. We’ve had rousing games of Jeopardy and Yahtzee, talent shows, and we’ve listened appreciatively to the musicians in the family at every reunion. And we hike, swim, explore our surroundings, and join forces to prepare communal meals. We have our occasional differences of opinion to be sure, but somehow we work through them and land in a good place on the other side.

These reunions require a great deal of planning—finding a place large enough for us all to sleep, managing the dietary needs and requests of 30-plus people from three generations, coordinating with the innkeeper, shopping, and managing costs. But we’ve learned a lot over the years, as will our kids as they take on more and more responsibility.

This was the first reunion that my father didn’t attend.  At 98 years old, he wasn’t up for a cross-country flight to Boston and then a 4-hour drive. We missed him but his spirit was clearly with us. He called a few times from California, and afterwards we shared stories, laughed a lot, and sometimes cried. What was so uplifting for me was sitting on the lakeside beach with Farn and my five siblings and their spouses, watching our kids play in the water with their own kids and knowing that they’ll  continue the tradition of these reunions in fun, interesting places. And all I’ll have to do is to show up. It’s a nice feeling.    

I’ve included some photos of the reunion so that you could get a flavor of the sheer joy we have in getting together. Just go to “Images” at the top of the page and you’ll find my pastels and photos from our reunion. Or simply click here for a direct link.

3 Comments

  1. I find myself telling people all the time about this magical experience your family has every two years, and how great of an idea it is. This is a legacy that defines you and your family.

  2. It’s in our blood and soooo grateful that we make it happen! They each have a unique flavor, but for me this one was special as our grandchildren are beginning to really experience the magic of gathering with the large clan. Missed Dad though as he always provided a strong center.

  3. So wonderful to have that day with you and your family, John. And it was especially good to see you and Farn as well as Susie and Tom, and David and Lori after so many years! It’s so great that you all do this together, and have for so long! Thanks for including me and giving me a little taste of your reunions. The photos you’ve included are great, too, and give a nice flavor of the week.

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